New Vista Montessori School was founded in 2001 by a group of dedicated parents and teachers. We educate fully vaccinated students ages 2-6. NVMS is the Roanoke Valley's only non-profit Montessori school. This means that our income is spent in the areas that most directly affect the students (i.e., high-quality teachers and school equipment.) We are governed by a Board of Directors that is responsible for the long-range planning of the school. These individuals have diverse talents, expertise, and perspectives, and ensure adherence to sound business practices. Most board members are parents of children at the school, so they are deeply concerned with providing our students with the best possible educational environment available.
All of our lead teachers in our classrooms are Montessori certified. As an associate member of the American Montessori Society, we follow the curriculum set forth by AMS: language, math, sensorial, practical life, geography, and science.
New Vista educates our youngest students in the 2-3 year old class. This "foundation" class stresses potty training, social skills building, development of fine and gross motor skills, improvement of language and speech, science concepts, and number/letter/shape concepts. Once a child is three, potty trained and emotionally ready, then the child transitions to the "Montessori Early Childhood" 3-6 program.
With the 3-6-year-old program, ideally, children enter this program at 3 years of age and remain with the same teacher for all three years. This looping allows the child and teacher to get to know each other very well, and it creates a comfortable bond between the two. However, a child can enter the classroom at any time during these years and quickly settle into the routine.
The multi-age classroom provides a backdrop for success in all ages. The younger children will attempt lessons that they see their older peers working on and can often acquire these skills with ease. By the same token, the older children assist in teaching the younger ones, sometimes presenting lessons in the same way that the lesson has been presented to them. This is an excellent confidence and independence builder for the older child. It also fosters a natural feeling of respect between the younger and older child.
In a Montessori prepared environment, the child can move ahead at his/her pace or repeat work as needed. Each lesson, regardless of subject, is presented with actual material to touch, feel, and explore. Teaching in this way allows the learning to progress from the concrete to the abstract. The child is self-motivated and self-directed because the classroom is structured so that the work is beautiful and appealing.
Each Montessori lesson builds upon itself, teaching the child coordination, concentration, independence, and order. The "whole" child learns from work, perhaps building fine motor skills with one work and hand-eye with another. Work is completed from left to right, top to bottom - the same way that we learn to read. Each lesson is carefully planned and executed with particular developmental and practical aims in mind.
Numerous studies have concluded that the preschool/kindergarten years are the most critical time in brain development for children. Dr. Maria Montessori coined the term for this period when the child possesses the "absorbent mind." The child's mind is open to absorbing knowledge and skills like a sponge. We believe that you will find that New Vista Montessori School's prepared environment is the perfect place for this transformation to take place.